Protein N-glycosylation is a multifactorial process involved in many biological processes. A broad range of congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDGs) have been described that feature defects in protein N-glycan biosynthesis. Here, we present insights into the disrupted N-glycosylation of various CDG patients exhibiting defects in the transport of nucleotide sugars, Golgi glycosylation or Golgi trafficking. We studied enzymatically released N-glycans of total plasma proteins and affinity purified immunoglobulin G (IgG) from patients and healthy controls using mass spectrometry (MS). The applied method allowed the differentiation of sialic acid linkage isomers via their derivatization. Furthermore, protein-specific glycan profiles were quantified for transferrin and IgG Fc using electrospray ionization MS of intact proteins and glycopeptides, respectively. Next to the previously described glycomic effects, we report unprecedented sialic linkage-specific effects. Defects in proteins involved in Golgi trafficking (COG5-CDG) and CMP-sialic acid transport (SLC35A1-CDG) resulted in lower levels of sialylated structures on plasma proteins as compared to healthy controls. Findings for these specific CDGs include a more pronounced effect for α2,3-sialylation than for α2,6-sialylation. The diverse abnormalities in glycomic features described in this study reflect the broad range of biological mechanisms that influence protein glycosylation.
Keywords: congenital disorders of glycosylation; glycomics; mass spectrometry; sialic acid linkage isomers.